In the state of Connecticut, you can currently place bets at the racetrack. But as the new year gets underway, it’s time to ask. Will betting on sports become legal in Connecticut?
In December, the state’s legislature passed a bill that would have made sports betting legal in the state. But the legislation was vetoed by Governor Dannel Malloy. Since then, the issue has been debated in the legislature, but there hasn’t been as much progress as some had hoped. Now that the new year has begun, it’s time to ask: When will legal betting become legal in Connecticut?
What is the Legal Status of Sports Betting in CT Now?
The law currently allows you to place bets at the racetrack in the state of Connecticut. But it’s highly restricted: You can only bet on horseracing and cannot place bets on football, basketball, or baseball. You can’t either take bets on your cell phone either.
The law has been in place for decades and was originally intended to prevent gambling. But for the majority of that time, it was only applied to sportsbooks at the racetrack. However, in 2012, the state’s Supreme Court decided that restrictions on where you can place a bet are unconstitutional. So there are currently no restrictions on where you can place a bet in the state. This creates a grey area as to whether or not legal betting will become a reality in Connecticut.
When Will Legal Betting Begin in Connecticut?
According to the law, betting will begin in the state once the Commissioner of Baseball files a resolution with the governor that approves sports betting in the state. The paperwork was initially filed in December, and the next step is for the governor to sign off on the plan. This could happen at any time.
But it’s highly unlikely that the governor will veto the proposal. After all, it’s been months since the legislature passed the bill and the issue hasn’t gone away. It’s also uncertain how soon after approval the paperwork will be processed and the betting will be available in the state. Despite that, it’s a safe assumption that it will happen, and at some point in the near future, sports betting in Connecticut will be legal.
What Will the Odds Be Like At The Racetrack?
When the law was written, the intention was for there to be only one bookmaker in the state, and this is still the case. But as the years passed and the internet became more accessible, more and more people began looking for odds and placing bets on games they were interested in seeing. Now, there are dozens of websites that offer real-money betting online. This has largely nullified the purpose of the law, making it a bit more difficult to enforce.
It’s also worth noting that the law only covers bets made at a “regulated” bookmaker. So while it’s legal to place bets at the racetrack and some reputable sportsbooks, there are still many scams and shady operations that prey on the need for speed and convenience.
Will Legal Betting Bring With It More Crime?
This is undoubtedly one of the biggest questions surrounding legal sports betting. At first blush, it might seem that allowing adults to place bets recreationally would lead to more crime. After all, the opportunity for betting fraud might increase, right?
But research has mostly concluded that legal betting won’t lead to more crime. Some studies have shown a decrease in certain types of crime, while others have shown no significant change at all. For example, a 2013 study conducted by the University of Nevada Reno determined that legal betting didn’t lead to more gambling-related crimes. And a 2016 study by the Australian Institute of Criminology also found that legal betting didn’t lead to an increase in overall crime levels.
To be clear, both of these studies only looked at short-term changes. And while there have been no large-scale studies conducted since then, it’s still reasonable to assume that legal betting will have little to no effect on crime levels.
How Does Legal Betting Impact My Quality of Life?
People who enjoy gambling often voice concerns regarding the social ills that come with it. Will legal betting lead to more individuals gambling? Will it make the state a more attractive place to live?
But research has largely concluded that legal betting will have little if any impact on your quality of life. A 2016 study by the University of Nevada Reno determined that legal betting didn’t lead to more short-term abuse or addiction problems. And in September of last year, the AIC published a report that also found that legal betting didn’t lead to more long-term abuse or addiction problems.
To be clear, this only applies to adult-supervised bets. Children and cases of adult abuse or disability are still prohibited under state law from gambling. So while the opportunity for sports betting may be open to everyone, the ability to actually engage in the activity remains restricted.
Will Legal Betting Help or Hurt My Favorite Sports Teams?
This goes back to the subject of whether or not sports betting will actually happen in the state. We already discussed how the state’s Supreme Court ruled that restrictions on where you can place a bet are unconstitutional. This means that in theory, the teams that you support will be able to benefit from legal betting in the state. The question is: Will this actually happen?
According to the law, in order to start accepting bets, the baseball commissioner must file a resolution with the governor. This stipulates that the teams that you support will be able to take part in legal betting. But it doesn’t mean that they will be able to benefit from it. The legislation also restricts how bets can be placed. So while it will be legal for the St. Louis Cardinals to accept wagers on games this year, it will be difficult for them to actually win those wagers.
In short, the opportunity for increased gambling and betting is definitely there. But the state’s current administration has stated that it doesn’t favor expanded gambling. And it’s not as if the revenue from sports betting will magically appear and solve all of the state’s financial problems either.
What About The Integrity Of The Game?
This is something that everyone who cares about sports must ask themselves. Will legalized sports betting lead to more crooked and corrupt games?
According to the law, the only people who can place bets are adults. This means that players under the age of 21 cannot bet, nor can managers, coaches, or trainers. The integrity of the game will thus remain intact. As it stands now, minors can’t legally place bets in the state of Connecticut, and neither can anyone else who is considered an ‘interested party’.
Though this may not seem like a big issue, the integrity of the game is still something that concerns many people. After all, everyone knows that there are tons of shady and corrupt practices that go on at the racetrack. But will this happen outside of the racetrack as well?
This is one of the main reasons why legal betting might not happen in the state. There are just too many people who care about the integrity of the game for it to become a reality. Even the people who want to see more gambling and betting options have stated that they don’t want to see games corrupted. This is essentially the reason that the NBA, NCAA, and MLB have all declined to offer their support for legalized sports betting.
There is certainly no question that legalizing sports betting in Connecticut would be a huge step forward for the state. But with careful consideration and planning, it’s quite possible that the negative social effects that come with gambling and gaming could be avoided. For now, at least, it’s still a battle that’s being fought by many, including the state’s Governor. But at least there is some movement. And that’s something to celebrate.